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Spare bulb stock


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Couldn't find a previous discussion on this, so... To keep it short; doing a show on a stage with no regular lighting tech, so I'm fixing some of their stuff while I'm at it and giving them some advice. When telling them to buy bulbs, though, it strikes me that the only stages I've kept in stock for anything have been theatre stages, where there's a bit more time available to restock spares.


So, how big a stock do you keep of various spare bulbs? Depends on how many fixtures you have to need them for, I assume? A box or three of PAR bulbs and not quite that many for your fresnels and profiles (unless you're a theatre and use quite a lot of those)?


(The question is mainly meant in general, but in this specific case they have a stock of about 80 PAR64, 8 old Strand 2kW fresnels (forgot the model but I reckon the bulbs cost more than new fixtures at this point), 46 1kW fresnels and pcs, 12 650W pcs, 10 2kW profiles in front, 72 1kW profiles, 4 flood batteries.)

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It also depends on the service time of your lamp vendor! It's fashionable to have minimal stock and order for "just in time" delivery. which is OK if the supplies will arrive in time, but not if the supply is impeded buy bad weather or anything else.
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If finances and storeage space permits, I would urge keeping a relativly large stock.

Remember that many suppliers offer better prices for purchasing larger qauntities.


It would not normally make sense to purchase 3 or 4 of one lamp type every month, if 10 or 12 could be obtained at a better price.


As disscussed elswhere on these forums, the sale of some lamp types is, or soon will be, restricted. Although theatres should be exempt from such restrictions, that does not help much if your supplier suddenly de-lists a lamp.

Another reason to keep larger stocks.


The manufacture of electric lamps is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer very large companies. Such companies are finding it less viable to produce the less demanded lamps, production of which may cease with little warning.

Alternatively production of unusuall lamps may not be continous, the factory waits until it has sufficient orders, makes a batch, and then switches to making something else.


I doubt that this will apply to the more popular theatre lamps, but if you use anything obscure I suggest an ample stock.


My experience is mainly in general building lighting, not theatre. But in the last few years I have experienced growing problems in obtaining some less common lamp types including,


70 volt 60 watt GLS (used on some old trains)

300mm 8 watt flourescent aperture lamps (used in edge lit exit signs)

12 volt 15 watt GLS (used in off grid homes)

12 volt 18 watt SCC axial filament (headlights on vintage cars)

12 volt 25 watt PAR 30, used in my garden !

Coloured CFLs for decorative lighting in public houses etc. (colour dipped ones are readily obtained, but the ones with coloured phospour seem to have vanished)

1500mm 80 watt flourescent lamps with bayonet caps.


I doubt that many of the above are much used in theatres, but I suspect that the position may be similar with the more obscure theatre lamps.

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I tend to go for a lamp and half, per lantern and re order either yearly or when stock drops below half a lamp per unit. Means your buying decent amounts so discount is generally good,and even with a complete re lamp you've got some spares
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I have an excel spreadsheet, for which I have a column for the number of fixtures we have which take a certain type of lamp, then a percentage spare stock required, which is based on a number of factors including how much the fixtures get moved, the cost of the lamps, the bulb life and availability of spares - and then a column to input how many we have in stock, an adjustment for how much we want to over-stock when we re-order (as there's no point re-stocking to the miniumum level in most cases, however for things like follow spot discharge bulbs you may as well stock to the minimum level) - all of which gives me a figure of how many I need to order.


I have attached a screen shot below, just in case anyone is having a really, really boring day and would like a look at it.



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I am currently low on everything. But I usualy try to have 1 and a bit lamps for evey 2 lanterns. Granted our grid is small (under 60 lanterns) and not used ALOT (once a month maybe a bit less depending).


However I got given a box (12)of CP62's and a box of birdie lamps(24) for free so I don't think I will run out of those for a LONG time.


I don't have the space for a massive stock of lamps and half the time they would mostlikley be damaged before they even saw the inside of a lamp, but I do know that my supplier can get them to me in a day or 2 max if I start to have alot of lamps blow.

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